La Flor Dominicana showcased a number of exciting new cigars at the 2015 IPCPR, but the brand’s focal point cigar this year was definitely La Flor Dominicana La Nox. This cigar was created by Tony Gomez, owner Litto Gomez’ son. You may have already tried Tony’s other creations in 2013 and 2014, Chapter One and Capitulo II respectively.
I’d heard a lot of great things about this cigar, so I was thrilled to get a chance to try it. As it turned out, it more than met my expectations.
As the title suggests, the topic I'm going to start to delve into today is about Custom Roll Cigars of Havana. That is to say, cigars rolled by the hands of people who have been recognized as being masters in their field and given a post at one of the several cigar shops scattered across the city of Havana, Cuba.
What is the criteria used when choosing who will get one of these positions and exactly who is the one doing the choosing? That is something I don't know and probably never will. I can tell you that once they have this position of privilege they keep it until they retire. It affords them an opportunity to earn some extra money in the form of gratuities, since they sell their cigars directly to the buyers and at one time they were sent around the world to roll in Cigar Shops as ambassadors for Cuban Cigars. The latter of the two privileges was recently stopped by the new direction, it was a way to see the world at the cigar shop's expense and once again it gave them an opportunity to earn some extra money.
Besides the extra money and traveling, working conditions are also a plus: compare a hot factory with a comfy air-conditioned cigar shop. Finally, as long as they continued to put out a good product, the pressure of having to roll so many cigars in one day was no longer hanging over their heads. In a cigar factory each roller has a certain quota he or she has to meet each day depending on the cigar that's being rolled. In the case of the rollers in the cigar shops, they just need to top-up the selection they have in their humidors or fill orders for the regular customers (such as myself) who come to visit a few times a year… but that still gives them plenty of time to produce what is needed at any given time.
It took me a long time to appreciate a Custom Rolled Cigar but once I started getting into them I fell in love. In my opinion they are some of the best rolled cigars in the country. That's not saying that Cuba doesn't have some exceptional rollers in their factories as well but you don't get to choose the roller when you buy a box of cigars at the store. So who is the best? That is a matter of personal opinion or tastes. They're all good but each one brings something special to the table or may have the personality that makes you come back to him or her, there are a few to choose from.
We've been featuring different cigar art lately, but we've never talked about cigar jewellery until now! As usual, keep reading for a chance to win a really cool product.
Today we're introducing you to Broc Kensington. Broc is the jeweler who outfits Jonathan Drew with all of his wears and also produces the Drew Estate jewelry seen at many events and retailer gatherings.
Here is Broc's story:
In 2012 after becoming friends with a rep for Drew Estate, we started designing some customs jewelry for him to wear at his events and such. This led to designing 3-4 pieces and sneaking me into the IPCPR in Orlando in order to show them to JD himself. I was 19 at the time and totally new to that large of an event. Nonetheless, after waiting 8 hours to speak to Jon, he was amazed at the pieces we had produced and from then on has been a mentor and the largest supporter of my work.
Broc has an Etsy shop that features all of his work. Each piece is hand crafted, by Broc himself, in proprietary tarnish-resistant sterling silver and comes with a 1-year warranty. He's also available for custom work (contact e-mail: kensingtonwatchservices[at]yahoo[dot]com) - he does everything from engagement rings to biker style wallet chains. His Instagram channel shows some more examples of his works.
Broc told us that the most popular pieces were the Liga Privada pendant and the Undercrown ring that you see on the pictures in this post - and he's willing to give away both items (worth $290 each) to our readers! How cool is that? Just comment on this post (tell us which one you prefer - the pendant or the ring - and why) to enter - this contest is open worldwide!
The two winners will be announced in one week, next Thursday.
After giving Montecristo a hard time in a previous review, I felt it only fair to find another cigar of their issue that was somewhat close in age to the one I dealt with so harshly to see if the box I consumed was an aberration, or if the issues I encountered with the other product continued with this limited edition release. I am happy to say that in this case the latter applies, not the former. What one is left to wonder is how something so wrong could turn into something so right. By its taste profile, it would SEEM that this outcome was what Montecristo was shooting for with their 2008 Sublime release. Here they are using 2005 tobacco, which on its face would indicate that the stock was somewhat similar in age to the Sublime (it used 2006 tobacco). This is a conundrum I do not think I can figure out by the time this review is over. Where such utter failure turns into such utter bliss leaves me dumbstruck, but I will take them as they come.
Famous Smoke Shop recently announced that Crowned Heads would be producing a special line of cigars exclusively for their shops. Called the Four Kicks Black Belt Buckle, the new cigar is an amped-up version of the original Four Kicks. Where the old Four Kicks used a Habano Ecuador wrapper, this one comes with a Connecticut Broadleaf.
In case you’re curious about the name, it comes from a song by the Kings of Leon. The lyrics go like this:
Huff men don’t take no nonsense He’s here to rectify He’s got his black belt buckle And the red man’s fire in his eyes.
This cigar is brand new—it’s been available to order since December 3. I’ve finally had a chance to give it a try.
Last week we introduced you to Eric Renner, an artist whose oil paintings impressed quite a few of our readers - thank you for participating in the contest! As you remember, we had one customized painting to give away, and the winner is... Jon (jcheu002)! Congrats! Jon will have his favorite cigar painted in the style of "A Fuente Evening". I actually feel a bit jealous writing this, I'd love to have one of Eric's paintings in my office! :)
Thanks again to Eric and all the participants, and stay tuned for more great stuff!
If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Montecristo lover, you might want to stop reading right now. Yes, I am a huge fan of Montecristo, but this review will not be flattering, not in the least. You might want the children to leave the room on this one. In many communities in my country, we have a colloquial saying “You dance with the lady that brought you to the party”, which loosely translates to “You stick with ideas where you excel”. Montecristo would have done well to have heeded this idiom before foisting this product upon the cigar loving public. They tried to copy others by an attempt to make a “kinder and gentler” cigar. Failure. Absolute and total failure.